A desolate patch of terrain in southern Arizona — crossed mostly by coyotes, jackrabbits and Border Patrol agents — is one of the planned sites for a 120-foot-tall lattice-steel tower. Located two miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, the tower will be outfitted with sensors to allow Customs and Border Patrol to detect and record the movement of migrants and smugglers up to 7.5 miles away. The simple structure will contain advanced technology that has been already used halfway across the globe in Israel, where its makers, Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd., have deployed their border security products for more than a decade. The towers being erected in Arizona shed light on the fierce and ongoing debate over U.S. border strategy where they symbolize efforts to adopt a more militaristic policy. At the same time the presence of a foreign company at the heart of such a project also highlights a booming niche in the global defense industry: one where hefty profits can be made by fortifying international frontiers. While environmental assessments have been done to prepare the sites, project hasn’t yet broken ground due to a protest filed by a competing bidder, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed. But that’s not the only controversy. In the wake of Israel’s increased military campaign in Gaza this summer, Elbit Systems has drawn fire from protesters in England and Australia who criticize the company for profiting from the Israeli occupation and separation wall, which the International Court of Justice has declared illegal under international law. via Al Jazeera America.
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